Lieutenant Pepper Spraying Kids Club Meme

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"Flying Spaghetti Monster" pepper spraying UC Davis Police Lt. John PikeYou may not be the “Internet meme” type.  That’s OK.  Like pepper spray, it’s not for everyone.

But if you do enjoy seeing the frenzied creativity of your fellow Earthlings rippling through the skies like the Aurora Satiricus, this has been a really good week for you so far.

Lt. John Pike, the UC Davis campus cop who casually strolled up and down a line of sidewalk-and-grass blocking college students with linked arms and bowed heads, methodically spraying them with what was apparently a mix of pepper spray and tear gas — I suppose because a straight dose of either would have been a bit much — has become an object of sport among the nation’s Photoshoppers.   It has become an object of sport to the degree that, bleeding-heart liberal that I am, I hope that he’s on suicide watch.  As a fellow Person of Chunk, I feel bad for Lt. Pike as an object of visual derision.  But, hey, funny is funny.

And this stuff is funny!  The notion that pepper spray, rather than say dragging people off to a paddy wagon, is not to be used casually on those engaging in minor misbehavior is unsurprisingly amenable to myriad historical and artistic examples.  For example:

Pepper spraying cop & Seurat

“Sitting in the park, are you?  Well, we can’t have that!  Feel the sting of nature’s torture condiment, miss!”

You may think that my referring to it as a “condiment” is just my being arch, but no — as always, I am just taking my cues from Fox News’s anger-vixen Megyn Kelly.  Megyn (as I like to call her, pronouncing both vowels long) had this to say about the “is this really such a big deal?” aspect of this particular method of compelling compliance in a tete-a-tete with Big Thinker Bill O’Reilly:

“Pepper spray, that just burns your eyes, right?”

“Right.  I mean, its like a derivative of actual pepper. It’s a food product, essentially.”

As the Talking Points Memo story to which I link above says: “Exactly! Like jalapeno poppers, or queso dip. Delicious.”  Then it goes on to note that pepper spray is in fact about 1,000 times hotter than a jalapeno.  As if that would keep college kids from eating it!

The tour through the art world continues with the likes of these:











Isn’t that one on the left a scream?  And is it any wonder  why the French are supposedly disinclined to use  deodorant, after something like this?  Ah, high culture —  it’s so … lowerable!

All three of these images (and perhaps before long the  first as well) are  taken (for illustrative fair use purposes,  of course), from a Tumbler site called Pepper Spraying  Cop.  I’ve left out the Jimmy Stewart and the M.C. Escher and the Stephen Hawking and the Guernica — you’ve got to see the Guernica! — so please click on that link and tell them that Orange Juice Blog sent you.  Or go check out “Casually Pepper Spray Everything Cop”, which also has an “instant history” of the “Pepper Spraying Cop” meme that is right up to the moment — oh my God, look what they did to Megyn Kelly?  “It’s Surprise Sex, Essentially??” — and will no doubt be an excellent source for keeping up with every jig and zag of the life-cycle of this meme (as if it will ever die) for a long, long time to come.

It’s not just activists out in the streets or the parks who are totallyengaged now — it’s also the cheeky geniuses with their lese-majeste stance towards power.  They won’t change anything right away either, but — well, let me ask you this: would you want to be Lt. John Pike right now?

Other police officers armed with pepper spray will be asking themselves that same question — and their behavior may change accordingly.  Funny things, these memes: they seem so silly, but sometimes they meme business.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 (in violation of Roberts Rules) when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Expelled from DPOC in October 2018 (in violation of Roberts Rules) for having endorsed Spitzer over Rackauckas -- which needed to be done. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. One of his daughters co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)